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I don't know the writer of this blog. A friend sent it to me and I felt it was important to share with the CheckSwing community.  Definitely worth reading.


I Never Thought It Would End THIS Way


For anyone who has ever coached youth sports of any kind, from pee-wee to middle school, and even high school sports in some cases………I have a deep question that has been floating in my mind in recent days. Just give me minute to circle around to it.

My youngest daughter wrapped up her high school soccer career tonight.  The days leading up to it flooded me with memories of all her games past, both far and near.  Thoughts of different leagues, cities, coaches, teammates, hotel rooms, victory, defeat.  Reflections of how she changed over the years as a player, a competitor, and a person.  Wondering how and why things have played out exactly as they have.  Thinking about influences both good and bad that could have or would have made things better or worse if they’d been different.

And I started thinking about the kids that I have coached as my kids have grown up, from youth soccer to travel soccer, Upward basketball to middle school basketball.  And I just can’t help wondering……

If all coaches could see into the future, to that very day when a kid puts away the cleats or the hi-tops for the last time and walks away from a game………would they choose to coach individual kids differently than they presently do?

Every kid walks away from their chosen sport someday…….then what?

Effective youth coaching is psychiatry and it is parenting.  Each player is unique, and they have specific needs that team sports can bring them.

Many coaches fail to fill those needs because they falsely assume they are training the next state champs.  They fail to see each child beyond that day when the sports equipment goes in the yard sale or the closet.

Shouldn’t the journey of sports teach these things and more to prepare kids for life beyond sports?

  1.  Standard of excellence
  2.  Work ethic
  3.  To believe in themselves
  4.  To trust others
  5.  The value of encouragement
  6.  To know they aren’t the center of the universe
  7.  To know that success does not come overnight (or in one practice)
  8.  To lose with dignity
  9.  To accept temporary failures without blaming others, and to realize these failures aren’t permanent
  10.  To be pushed to their physical limit, time and time again
  11.  To love and to be loved
  12.  To sacrifice for others
  13.  To respect authority and rules
  14.  Teamwork/unselfishness
  15.  To never give up

These things still matter when the cheering stops.

Maddies last stand

The cheering stopped for Maddie tonight.  Her team lost in the regional semi-finals.  In a game where she and her teammates truly “left it on the field”, the score was tied at the end of 80 minutes of regulation.  Two 5-minute overtimes later, the score was still tied.  Penalty kicks would now decide the match.

Maddie stood over the ball, ready to attempt her shot with her team facing a nearly hopeless 3-1 deficit.

If she missed this shot, the game was over.  The season was over.

Sitting on my knees beside my wife, I simply mumbled, “Maddie needs to be to one to take this shot.”

Not because it could be the game winner………because it would be the shot that would seal the loss if she missed.

I don’t know what kind of reaction or look Kristy gave me, but I went on to say, “Maddie needs to be the one to take this shot, because I know she can handle missing the shot to end the game.  She can handle it.  That’s my daughter!”

And my voice cracked at the enormity of what I was saying in a trailing voice……..”that is OUR daughter”.

She missed.  Game over.  Season over.  High school career over for her and her senior teammates.

Maddie played her heart out.  And I was so proud of her.  But when those words came out of my mouth, “that’s our daughter” it hit me so clearly.  I was not proud of her effort or her performance.

I was proud of who she has become.

She met her mother and me after the game with head held high.  That’s our daughter.

Do your best.  Have fun.  Train and play to win.  In the end it’s just a game.  The end came tonight.  I’m thankful for all those who have prepared her in the right ways to go beyond this “end”.

If you’re coaching your 1st game or your 1000th, take an occasional peak toward the end.  Winning is a by-product of doing all things the right way.  Some lessons can’t be cast aside for the sake of early wins or just because you ARE winning games.

And while your players are dreaming of making that dramatic game-winning shot, you better spend some time preparing their toughness and character……for missing it.

Views: 638

Comment by Michael Paes on October 22, 2015 at 1:40pm

Agreed - very well said.  I coached for 10 years, and odds are no one I ever had will ever come close to making a living playing the game.  But hopefully they all had a good time, improved, and learned things that will help them in their lives.

Comment by Matt Bendzlowicz on October 22, 2015 at 2:33pm

This was one of the most valuable and insightful contributions.

Comment by Brett Manning on October 22, 2015 at 3:20pm

What a great story and perspective to encapsulate WHY kids should be playing sports as well as what is to "truly" be gained from their participation.

Learning to let the ball travel on an outside pitch in order to drive it with authority to the opposite field isn't going to help a ballplayer out when he is 35 and having to make a tough "life" decision at work or with his family. However, learning all of the lessons outlined in the article will help him navigate through that decision and make a choice that will strengthen his life and those around him. Thank you for posting this and I hope coaches and parents read it. 

Comment by Kyle Grucci on October 22, 2015 at 3:31pm

Great post.

Comment by Kip Gross on October 22, 2015 at 4:04pm
Great post
Comment by Robin Cox on October 22, 2015 at 4:55pm

Good Post....I would say its not over...take what you have learned and teach other kids....someday, if you are so fortunate, your grown kids may come back to help you....which is just as fun. 

The best coaches I have had knew; that with just one injury, thousands of hours of hard work, years of family time and financial sacrifice could come to an end...not with just the last game of the Senior season.

These coaches didn't just teach the game...but taught The Game that counts...the one outside the lines...not just after the season or career  but after each game was over.

They taught all of the above attributes but also a "super" confidence not based on the results of the contest or the stats...but on who the player is and his character...and how to win when the scoreboard said other wise.

This aspect of the game is the most rewarding....with the occasional comeback/walk off win thrown in.

Comment by Bill Stanton on October 22, 2015 at 11:07pm

Robin makes a good point. Just because your kids are no longer playing doesn't mean you can't coach. Leagues can always use more volunteers.

Comment by David LeVine on October 23, 2015 at 7:07am


In regards to your post I agree.  I am going into my 6th year as an Volunteer assistant high school coach.  I have never been paid a dime yet and don't really care.  My kids are in college so they don't need me around anymore.  At their age, they probably don't want me around anyways.  My son has asked me on several occasions why I don't get a paid coaching job and here is what I have told him more than once.

Aside from paid positions being tough to get because I want to be close to home which shrinks my radius, I do it to give back.  I try to set examples to the kids I coach my showing them how to not only be better players but better people as well.  I always preach to play with honor, dignity and respect and that does not just apply to the playing field.  I also stress that wins and losses on team sports are the sum of all the parts and not just on any one player or play at that moment.

I know most likely none of the kids I coach will play pro and most may not even play college level but what I also teach them is this is only a game and nothing else.

I always hope that one day, as these kids mature, they will understand what I have saying all season long really has nothing to do with baseball but life in general.

This is what I tell my son how I give back.  Hopefully, inspiring future fathers, leaders, etc.

Comment by Richard Lovell on September 23, 2016 at 9:48am

Fantastic and hopefully, helpful to the next generation of coaches and players.


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